When inquiries are launched for the sake of inquiries

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

For such a small country, the number of inquiries and investigations launched into claims of wrongdoing on a regular basis really does boggle the mind sometimes. 

From within Government bodies to the Public Service Commission, Audit Office to the Police, Attorney General’s Office, Ombudsman’s Office not to mention special Inquiries ordered by Cabinet for one reason or another, you cannot help but think that we must live in a country where people have an affinity with wrongdoing. 

Folks, no one launches an investigation for a good reason? Commissions and Inquiries are launched to solve problems?

It’s only natural that we think that way especially when not a week goes by without some sort of inquiry being launched into one claim or another on these shores. 

Take for instance some of the stories reported in your newspaper during the last couple of days. On Wednesday, the front-page story titled “Audit Office investigates the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly” revealed an investigation that is underway against Sefuiva Charlene Malele. 

The Speaker of Parliament, Leaupepe Tole’afoa Fa’afisi, said the investigation is over “minor issues” which the Samoa Observer understands were made in a complaint against the Clerk taken up with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

Sefuiva declined to comment. She also denied that leave she took last week had anything to do with the investigation.

Contacted for a comment, Director Legal, of Samoa Audit Office, Vaipou Fetuliai Lagaaia, said: “We regret to advise at this stage that in our line of work we are mandated by law to answer first to the Parliament. As for an update on the investigation, please note that it is still ongoing.”

Okay then, fair enough.

Last night, Prime Minister Tuilaepa said this should be completed this week. 

So let’s wait and see.

But that’s not the only investigation. On yesterday’s front page was a story about another investigation. This time the investigating arm is the Public Service Commission (P.S.C.) which has launched an inquiry into allegations that Land and Titles Court files had been removed from the vicinity of the Court.

The investigation is the result of a formal complaint made by M.J.C.A. employee Tulima Pio, in relation to files he allegedly took to the office of the Minister for Justice and Courts Administration (M.J.C.A.), Fa’aolesa Katopau Ainu’u.

Now the Minister has vehemently denied the allegations. 

In the meantime, the Chief Executive Officer of M.J.C.A., Papali’i John Taimalelagi, has welcomed the investigation.

 “We welcome the Inquiry by the Public Service Commission to the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration,” he said. “I do not wish to comment on the issue until the Public Service Commission has completed its inquiry.”

Ladies and gentlemen, these are just two of many inquiries that have been launched, re-launched and launched again during the course of the past few months. 

If you have been reading the pages of your newspaper on a daily basis, you would probably be tired of seeing these inquiries. There are tons of them.

Come to think of it, it’s not all that bad. On one hand, it’s good to see that these claims of wrongdoing are being taken seriously and investigated at least. 

It is also positive to see that concerns in relation to matters that are pertinent to the development of the country are subjected to such scrutiny through Cabinet ordered inquiries into a number of different issues. 

There is nothing wrong with that. It’s a normal part of democracy.

What is not normal though is the fact a lot of these inquiries suddenly fizzle out and nobody seems to know what the outcomes were. 

Another common occurrence is when taxpayers pay lots and lots of monies for these Commissions and investigations only for leaders to ignore the findings and the recommendations and continue to do whatever suits their political agenda.

We have seen this time and time again over the years. These actions make such inquiries and investigations an utter waste of public monies and resources.

The point is that it is good to see that there is a long list of inquiries being launched into countless claims of different natures. 

But what’s the point when they amount to nothing, or when the recommendations and findings are ignored? 

Why bother launching them in the first place? 

What do you think?

Have a fabulous Friday Samoa, God bless!

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